5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Don’t know goat cheese from gouda? Or Comté from Camembert? Well, you certainly don’t have to have a culinary degree to put together a simple yet tasteful cheese plate. After all, the extent of the kitchen aptitude required is how well you can unwrap and place things on a platter.
But if you're still worried about making an asiago of yourself at your next gathering, Cathy Strange, the global cheese buyer for Whole Foods Market, has some tips to get you on your way to cheese pairing success.
A Beginners' Guide to Assembling a Cheese Plate: Cathy Strange
1. Variety is key
"Plan on offering your guests a variety of flavor profiles and textures. When making your selections, consider including a blue cheese, a rind cheese, a fresh cheese, a hard cheese and a unique, local cheese. Offer palate cleansers such as simple crackers or nuts for guests to munch on in between so they can fully experience each cheese.
Some of my favorite cheeses right now include Wellspring Creamery Goat Brie, a sweet little 4.4-oz. mini wheel, and Cowgirl Creamery’s Buckaroo, a versatile washed-rind cow’s milk cheese."
2. Pairings enhance the experience
"A cheese plate is more than just cheese. In addition to dried or fresh, seasonal fruit, consider adding olives and nuts to the plate. If you’re feeling adventurous, try something like this sweet pickled watermelon rind from Divina Pickles. Also consider gourmet jams or spreads that may highlight the individual flavors in each cheese."
3. Consider beverage pairings as well
"Most people have attended a wine and cheese pairing party, but also consider pairing your cheeses with beers. Oftentimes beer pairs with cheese better than wine because the tannins in wine can sometimes contrast with cheese, whereas the effervescence of beer often enhances the cheese’s flavor.
Try a classic pairing such as Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog with Le Merle from North Coast Brewery or Le Gruyère Reserve with St. Arnold Amber Ale."
4.Take temperature into account
"Serving cheese fresh out of the fridge is a no-no when it comes to getting the most flavor. Cheese tastes best at room temperature, so be sure to take it out of the fridge 30 to 45 minutes before tasting."
5. Ask the experts and take notes
"Take time to chat up your local cheesemonger. They can tell you great pairings for specific cheeses you’re interested in trying and steer you to exciting finds you might not think to grab otherwise.
Cheesemongers are all education and passionate about cheese, and love to share their knowledge. Ask for samples and be sure to take notes on cheeses that really excite you so you can remember for the future."
Have a favorite fromage that is a cheese plate must? Leave your own cheesy picks and tips in the comments.
Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.
"Variety is key." However, 'key' is not an adverb. You meant, 'Variety is the key." Pet peeve. Sorry. Please return to what you were doing.
... "flavor profile" ... a good general rule of thumb is if you ever hear someone use the phrase "flavor profile" in conversation, you should quickly back out of the conversation and leave the immediate area – you're conversing with a smug, status hungry douche bag.
I LOVE cheese! Too bad I'm lactose intolerant. :(
The article is interesting, but the comments had me LMAO
My girlfriend hates it when I cut cheese. Nine times out of ten I love the smell! But, on some occasions, it is even too much for me to take.
Give me a nice earthy brie, and I'm in heaven. Although, here in NY they have Yancy's Fancy cheeses. They have some interesting, bold flavors. I like the smoked gouda with bacon. Great to make a grilled cheese sandwich with.
Too funny, I was reading your comment and got to the bacon and Gouda comment and before I even read the next sentence I immediatly thought of grilled cheese-yum and then I read the next sentence and giggled
If you get a chance, try a smoked mozzarella. WONDERFUL on it's own or in a grilled cheese & bacon sandwich. Even better with pepperoni added to the sandwich.
@Ms. Grammar....What about paired with some avacado or sliced tomato? or would that be too much?
I once had a great smoked mozz with chopped basil and sun dried tomatoes. It was like eating a pizza in every bite.
Your last sentence is inadequate.
Ms. Grammar, with a name like that, you should know the difference between it's, the contraction of it is or it has, and its, a form of possession.
I've had grilled cheese made with moterey jack, it was very good.
Who cut the cheese?!
I did. I had ground turkey for lunch.
But did you eat it in a bathroom stall?
I would not, could not in a stall
I would not, could not down the hall
I just love cheese. My favorite is a 15-year aged Cheddar cheese. I grew up in Cuba, N.Y., where there was a cheese factory and they produced award-winning cheeses back in the day. They also have a Cheese Museum in town!
THE ABSOLUTE BEST cheese pairing you will ever taste in your life–a big block of medium cheddar, some generic saltines, after a couple of hits of Mary Jane. My mouth orgasmed.
One time I went to the store and bought some cheese. It was delicious. It came from a bird.
We are fortunate in Minneapolis to have some phenomenal cheese shops. What is great when you have stores like this available to you is that they are constantly sampling the different cheeses so you can try several until you find something that pleases you. I too, often will add a nice cheese plate to the menu when I entertain. My general rules aren't too different from what is in the article, but I also try to vary the type of milk in the cheeses as well. I try to offer a combination of cow, sheep and goat's milk cheeses in my selection. Another item to keep in mind is variety in coloring as well. Some washed-rind cheeses contrast nicely with a brie or other light cheese. As far as cheese and beverage pairings, a wine and cheese class can offer some great suggestions, but the best suggestion is "serve it with whatever tastes good to you". There are no "wrong" pairings when you are being a gracious host and working to make sure the guests at your party are enjoying good food and good company with friends.
I heart Surdyks!
AH AYNT GOT NO MUNY FER A CHEEZ PLATE! LOL! Caynt eben fill mah gass.
Not even fo' goverment cheese?
Local cheesemonger? wtf? I will ask the lady in the deli at safeway
I'm known at local functions for my cheese plates. For days before an event, I troll all the best markets, tasting and talking to the people behind the counter. I always offer a great variety, with at least one or two new things to try. Whatever I offer, though, the one thing that always gets scarfed up as if it were candy in a kindergarten...the one thing that people miss and comment on if I don't include it...is La Tur (http://articles.sfgate.com/2003-09-18/wine/17508917_1_sheep-s-milk-cheese-cheese-board-favorite-cheese). It doesn't matter what else I offer, simple or exotic, they all go after that luscious little doilied round as if they were starving and it was the only food left on the planet.
I have to admit, they've got a point. It's really, really good.
Oh, and another..cambazola (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambozola). The flavor is extraordinary!
Oh I agree, people will wait in anticipation for my velveta and salsa dip- it looks like throw up- which is why we call it "throw up dip"
THe lady in the pic had a little too much cheese
Not nearly as much as you. Cheese that is.
Our local cheese purveyor has introduced the town to St. Agur. I won't even try to describe it. Just try it! I save my pennies and occasionally treat myself.
What kind of crackers go well with smegma?
You should know, I am assuming that you are an expert on the topic.
Plain, unsalted Ritz.
A Big Azz bag of Cheeto's and an Orange Crush.....Nuff said.
i like to combine quince paste and herbs with a cheese plate(i like fresh farm cheeses combined with very aged cheese, especially ones layered with other ingredients. black seedless grapes and black current paste are also good.
Quince paste is "membrillo" in Spanish. Commonly eaten with cheese in Spain since...forever...
As you can tell, Mighty7 likes Spain...not the country...but the canned meat product.
Consistently and repeatedly Spain has had the largest amount of award winning cheeses in the world. Nothing beats Manchego or Queso de Teta or Canarian cheeses. NOTHING. But that's just me.
Whatever...they need to immigrate here legally.
Three cheeses readily available that I would recommend trying are Rocchetta which is a combo of goat's, cow's, and sheep's milk, earthy and melty on the rind and feta-like in the middle; Petit Basque which is a sheep's milk cheese but very nutty and more like cow's in terms of texture (semi hard); and numero uno, Beehive Cheese's Barely Buzzed Cheddar which is a white aged in a rub of lavender and Colorado coffee grounds – from Utah of all places, but has won numerous awards and is sublime. If you can't find them at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, you can get them on Amazon. All insanely nice.
Sounds like someone's been drinking again...
Stilton is a lovely choice for any cheese plate.
I agree- a Stilton is a lovely choice for a cheese plate. I too am in love with the Humboldt Fog. An assortment of crackers (not Ritz unless it's with the whiz) and I love a fig marmalade. I do agree with a previous poster that a nice Whiskey (I prefer Jameson's) will also complement the cheese.
I'm from Wisconsin (the CHEESE state!!!) and thought I had tried them all, but then my brother from CA introduced me to Humbolt Fog 2 years ago, and I LOVE it!!! It pairs wonderfully with a nice old vine zin, and if you like some kick, a nice jalapeno marmelade is awesome with a bite or two :)
What do you snobs have against Cheese-nips?
Do you really like cheese nips Bud?
Yeah man- pairing it with a cool frosty Dr. Pepper. Heaven!!
I think Gouda is Bedda!
JA- My faddah, mudda, brudda and sista all like beddah Gooda with a wine coola. Long as it has not gone badda.
A glass of red vintage and cheese platter starts a weekend morning right.
I don't mind a bottle or two before I drive the kids to school.
Gloria- Let me know when you will be on the road so I can be off.
You know, people don't drive their kids to school enough anymore...kudos to you friend.
I want to come to your place for a weekend...I'll bring the fruit and whatever! youe weekends sound so enjoyable that I think that I will start doing that before I head out to the Farmers Market. thanks
EPOISSES....GRREATEST CHEESE INTHE WORLD!!!!
As Roquefort cheese goes...Societe is the absolute best!
Nonsense, Profilia is the best.
Try pairings with Bourbons or whiskeys or gin. I recently had a camembert-style cheese that is coated with ash, a stronger tasting cheese and thought it might go good with a bourbon I had on hand. Bingo! The ash gave the cheese a mineral-y taste that melded well with the peat of the bourbon. I'm thinking about pairing a whiskey that has vanilla undertones with a fresh chevre next. I'm lucky that one of my best friends is a cheesemonger and I sell her cheese for her as a side job at a local farmer's market, so I'm always scheming to engage more customers.
Mm. I'll have to try that sometime! I've always thought wine and cheese was a little overrated... with notable exceptions.
That sounds horribly disgusting. Who on earth would pair cheese with hard liquor?
Very popular in SPPPAAAAAIIINNNNN!
damn high cholesterol prevent me to eat all the yummy cheese
I love cheese but who has time to do all that? Martha Stewart maybe.
I've always loved soft cheeses, but my new favorite is Beemster. It's a hard, aged gouda...it is the BEST. It doesn't taste like gouda at all; it is bright orange, with a nutty, tangy flavor and crunchy salt crystals. So, so good. Try it!!
YES, so delicious!
It probably doesn't taste "like Gouda" to you because you were served American junk all your life that you were told is "Gouda". Hurray for Beemster becoming more popular. (Beemster Lite is good too)
You'll find that Beemster is a cheesemaker with a variety of products. Around here we've taken to Beemster's Goat, a white, firm, smooth cheese. Beemster has a web site listing their products and locations available. North Dakota only has igormet as a choice but here in PA we've got abundant choices of merchants, if not quite cheesemongers.
Janafoods, inc. also imports and distributes a wide variety of cheeses to retailers (not direct to the retail customer. We've had "Orange Windmill" Cablanca which I find more often than the Beemster product. The aged goudas from them are tasty. Their site gives some good information about their cheese types. We've a grocer who halves the per pound price on cheeses nearing their sell by date and so consider ourselves very lucky in these suburban backwaters of culture.
Is that a man or a woman in the picture?
I dunno but it has a cheesy smile.
When will race stop being an issue in this country?
Its parents had three kids......one of each.
What do you want it to be?
I think her name is Sherry and she lives in Virginia!
really Sherry? You're a grade-A bi t c h
Don't ask questions that prove you haven't read the article. Not many guys around these days named Cathy, are there genius?
Hurry up and go back to school. Your 3rd grade teacher misses your skills as a dunce cap stand.
Please keep an eye on my new site currently called "Cheeseplex.com" but when it goes live it will be called "Cheeseways.com"
Please keep an eye on my new site currently called "Cheesplex.com" but when it goes live it will be called "Cheeseways.com"
Yeah, I'm sure that the hundreds of thousands of homeless and unemployed are worried about their "cheese pairings."
This should be sent to the Republican members of Congress.
Yes, because the Democrats in Congress are so poor. Give me a break! – John Stossel
I agree. There is a famine in Africa...jeeesh. This story should be removed from the world.
How much have you two donated to the starving of Africa or the homeless here?
Yeah, I thought so,
Pot meet kettle...
I went to wine & cheese parties starting in college, albeit it was UCSB in Santa Barbara. I think most people who are into food have attended at least one.
Good article, nice tips!
I agree. Cheese tastes good and it's usually free.
I live in an area that does not have a designated "cheesemonger" for hundreds of miles. I am lucky to score brie at the store, and our blue cheese only comes in tubs. For those of us off-the-map, learning to make cheese can be a help. I would also be interested in finding out how to contact a cheesemonger if I am heading to the city in which she has set up shop. Then maybe she could point me to something that would travel home safely. Any tips?
I am also "off the grid" when it comes to cheese, which was difficult moving from downtown Chicago. I have found igourmet.com to be a great source for cheese online. The shipping is not too bad if you are buying more than 1 or 2 items, such as for a party. There are many online discount coupons available for this site. If you are going to be in even a mid-sized city, Whole Foods have great cheese mongers and a good selection. Trader Joes are easy to find in bigger cities and some have cheese sections(not as good as whole foods). Happy cheese hunting!
Like a cheese solar panel? That sounds fake.
There is a site that has a list of cheeseshops so you can find a cheesemonger wherever you are. It's culturecheesemag.com. Go to the Find Cheese tab. You can enter a zip code or city or whatever and it will bring up a list of shops.
Have a young goats cheese and an aged goats cheese. The flavour of combining them is startlingly different from eating them individually, and the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Great with champagne.
Yes, I find that the younger cheese doesn't taste as "aged" as the older cheese...strange.
I can honestly say I have never been startled while eating cheese.
the image of being "startled" while eating cheese is somehow really hilarious to me
Ahhhhh!!!!! Cheese flavor!!!!!!
"Most people have attended a wine and cheese pairing party?"
Really? "Most people?"
Ridiculous. This cheese buyer needs to get out of her cloistered social clique and mingle with regular people once in awhile I might know someone - maybe - who has been to such an event. But it certainly is not a matter of common conversation.
And I'm what many would consider to be a "foodie." I cook, a lot, and not simple dishes, either. I go to farmers markets. I frequently seek out ethnic markets and upscale grocers for unusual or particular ingredients. And I often serve wine with my meals
Most people who would take the time to read an entire article about cheese, have probably been to a wine and cheese party. You are likely in the minority of those reading this article, so calm down and don't insult the person who posted by telling her to mingle with "regular people", as if you are somehow the spokesperson for normalcy.
Then you should host a wine and cheese party! Sounds like you would really enjoy it as a "foodie," and then you and your friends can have fun doing a new activity. Just do it, I think you will have a great evening :)
Cheese parties? What? Who invented this? Sounds fake.
I have to agree. I am a foodie. Probably four nights a week, my wife and I enjoy a cheese plate almost exactly like they describe – a variety of cheeses, dried or fresh fruit, sausages, jam, mustards, and crackers (no we aren't fat – we keep the portions of each down). I put them out when we have guests over, too. But I've never been to a "wine and cheese party."
meat and potatoes, and some kick'n azz
I don't know any rich people so I don't know anyone who's been to a cheese party. At $10 for 4oz of cheese thats barely enough for 3 people to try it would cost hundreds of dollars to host a party featuring just a few different cheeses.
I have brought out, as an appetizer, a selection of cheeses with crackers etc and a wine or too... always brings smiles, but not a party dedicated to only tasting
Let me guess...you know alot of poor people? Typical poor talk.
Ive been to parties with cheese platters but they werent special cheeses, just deli level. Cheese tasting is one of the most expensive parties you can have, not only do you have to buy over two hundred dollars worth of cheese but you have to get a bottle of wine to go with each cheese, and that wine probably isnt going to be the cheap kind.
Cheese parties are for rich people and cheese makers, regular people cant afford it.
YOU ARE THE FATHER!!
In the case of 4 month old Shaquitah you are NOT the father
Thanks to Wakka Wakka and John. Your posts made my day!! LOL
2 lame jokes "makes" your day? Doesn't take much, does it?
Totally, life is hard.
No, we're just laughing at your expense.
A cheese plate is not complete without roasted summer sausage.
The killing of animals to make sausage is totally wrong. Shame.
Agreed. People should kill what they eat. There would be a lot more vegeterians.
I ate your dog this morning.
Sometimes the killing of sausages is a great conservation move. Where I'm from sausages roam the countryside in such great numbers they compete with the other creatures such as the pate's and salamis and cause an imbalance in nature.
SherryVA: If you are right, there should be many vegetarian hunters in this country!
LMAO! Those aren't great herds of sausages; those are herds of daschunds – which are much better in stir fry than paired with cheese.
Sherry and SausageHater,
You wouldn't be who you are if no one ate the food stuffs that are grown to feed the world, your parents included.
What would pair well with Velveeta?
Rotel with Tostiitos for dipping
Two slices of bread!
Chili and corn ships, bad 80s action flick and an adult beverage of choice.
Canned chili, and some corn chips!
a 40 of Lonestar
Mad Dog 20/20 and a mullet.
A saltine, and not the brand name one
Mr. Norris, I didn't know you were into the finer foods
In seriousness, a stout.
Thumbs Up" if you think this thread is more useful than the article.
salsa & chips...hamburger & noodles for the kiddos, hot cheese dip and the list can continue forever. however I try to stay away from it. I like the bries with puff pastry w/raspberry jalapeno & the savory cheeses. super love baby mozzerella wrapped with a fresh basil leaf dipped in balsamic vinegar with fresh ground black pepper...actually I just love cheese
What does it sound like when two cheeses greet each other?
I can honestly say I don't believe cheeses can talk to one another.
I think he was creating a hyperbole....duh.
@Baster: I believe he was being sarcastic...duh!
They can't?! Holy cheezus!
Ahhh ha ha ha, good one!
Thanks for the smiles, made me day!
Touche! Nicely done.
If only Gouda was actually pronounced the way you think it is, perhaps that would be funny.
I think you need a hug.
maybe pulling that stick out of your bum? That would be funny! ha
Thank you! I actually hate it when people pronounce it wrong all the time. If you can't say it right you can't eat it.
I think you need to get l@!d more often...
It would be funny to you if you actually had a sense of humor and got that stick out of your azz.
You're quite right, Claire. Had a terrific Dutch roomie who nicely corrected me to pronounce it as if saying "ow" like when you stub your toe. :)) Ga-ow-duh
You mean Gowda go now.
it's more like, "gouda you do?"
Why don't you gowda he!!
I gowda drop kick some azz.
Some of the comments on here cracked me up! I needed a good laugh. :)
the correct European pronunciation of Gouda is their 'G' is pronounced as our 'H'.
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